After marking her Chelsea Women’s return with a brace against Reading, Fran Kirby has spoken about getting herself back to full fitness ahead of a huge 2019 for both club and country.
The Blues no.14 was making her first start since the beginning of November in our Continental Tyres League Cup quarter-final at Kingsmeadow, which we won 4-0 thanks to her goals at either end of the 90 minutes. Anita Asante and Ali Riley were also on target.
Now, having worked hard with the medical staff and on the training field, the England international is raring to go ahead of what could be the biggest year of her career, with Chelsea competing for major honours once again and England among the frontrunners for the World Cup in France this summer.
‘I probably should have one more, but I can't be too hard on myself,’ said Kirby after the game. ‘I'm happy to be back, helping the girls and contributing to us going to the semi-finals.
‘I took a little break to get my hamstring better and to get myself back to 100 per cent. I'm taking it day by day, making sure I look after myself and get the right recovery. I think this was the best I've played all season and I want to maintain that.
‘It's always frustrating to be injured, but I've learned a lot over the past few years, dealing with my injuries,’ added Kirby.
‘I'd been nursing a little niggle throughout the season and when you know your body needs a break, it's the right time to do it. The West Ham game was probably one of my worst performances for Chelsea. You can't take anything for granted with this team, you can't have anyone who is at 80 per cent.
‘The team has been playing fantastically so I had to make sure I was raring to go when I came back. I want to win titles with this club and I want to win the World Cup.’
The Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final draw will take place on Saturday 12 January during half-time of the Sheffield United v QPR EFL fixture at Bramall Lane, the venue for the final of the competition on 23 February, but the focus of the players is firmly fixed on a massive game the following day.
We travel to Arsenal, who are the only side to score against us in the WSL this season, on Sunday and it promises to be a fantastic occasion, with the Blues on a 10-match winning run and having kept 12 clean sheets in a row.
‘We need to approach the game like every other,’ added Kirby. ‘We want to set things right and show what champions are about, but we want to get the win because we need it, not just because they beat us here. We need to catch them in the league.’